Tree planting shovel/spade

salmon(4A WI)March 9, 2014

Hi everyone.

This spring I will be re-planting an area on my property that was recently harvested for oak wilt control. This will be tough planting with lots of roots, compacted soil and brush.

I'm looking to purchase a shovel/spade capable of cutting through small roots and compacted soil. I expect to have to dig down to about 18" and remove some soil. I will be planting bare root stock from 18-36".

Any advice/experience would be appreciated, thanks!

This post was edited by salmon on Sun, Mar 9, 14 at 12:03

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Suzi AKA DesertDance Zone 9b

My husband removed several established trees this year so we could plant in those areas. Some of the roots were as big as tree limbs, and he used an axe! I caught him sharpening that axe many times! He also used a saw.

I doubt there is one shovel alone that can do it all, but I'm watching this thread. His birthday is coming up!

Suzi

    Bookmark   March 9, 2014 at 10:56AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

the key is simple ...

sharpen your shovel ... file or grinding wheel ....

key #2 ... if you hit a big root ... MOVE THE FREAKIN HOLE ... a few inches one way or another ...

work smart.. not hard ...

frankly.. i think you are making it a bigger problem.. then it will turn out to be... if you use those two ideas ...

good luck.. and have fun doing it ...

ken

    Bookmark   March 9, 2014 at 11:07AM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

"I expect to have to dig down to about 18" and remove some soil."

I may be making a mountain out of a mole hill (or a canyon out of a planting hole), but something caught my eye here. Why would you need to dig that deeply for such small trees? Normally, you shouldn't need to dig down any deeper than the bottom of the root system, and most 18" to 36" seedlings will have a fairly small (shallow) root system.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2014 at 2:31PM
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lucky_p

Hands-down. King of Spades long-handled shovel.
One-piece construction. Expensive, but worth it.
Wouldn't be without one.

Here is a link that might be useful: King of Spades

    Bookmark   March 9, 2014 at 2:32PM
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krnuttle

Depends on where you live. We live east of Raleigh. It is almost impossible to plant using only a shovel because of the rocks and clay. (Round river type rocks. and some granite veins with quartz.)

The only way to go is a Mattock.

"http://www.acehardware.com/family/index.jsp?categoryId=1260334";

Using the pick end you can work through the stones. Using the other end you can cut through the roots.

I have also used it to level tree roots that are sticking above the ground interfering with the lawn mower. For this purpose it is better than an axe, as the cut is parallel to the ground. Best tool I have in my shed.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2014 at 10:32PM
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toronado3800 Zone 6 StLouis(6)

Sawzall for roots. Get one you can plug into your house not a battery powered one.

OR, get a chainsaw and a chain you don't care about.

There are terrible things you can do with unmounted miter saws but you better have your insurance paid up....

You know, I like Ken's view. Move the hole a few inches.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2014 at 10:56PM
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longtee81

This tool was a miracle for me! Not sure how it will work on large roots but so much better than a shovel. Also great to pry and snap the roots.

True Temper 1160000 71-Inch Post Hole Digging Bar by Ames True Temper http://www.amazon.com/dp/B000VACVPG/ref=cm_sw_r_udp_awd_TELhtb13ZA9W3

    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 8:28PM
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calliope(6)

a good quality drain spade

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 10:07AM
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akamainegrower

Best spade for cutting through roots and highly compacted soil is one with a sawtooth rather than a straight across blade. These can be found at suppliers such as A. M. Leonard or can likely be ordered by a local store which sells farm and garden equipment. These spades will slice through roots much more easily than a normal spade no matter how well sharpened it is. Rocks are best attacked with a mattock plus a a sturdy pry bar.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 5:32AM
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drpraetorius(7)

Have you considered a backhoe?

    Bookmark   March 14, 2014 at 12:29AM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

Salmon, no feedback? I guess the backhoe comment was supposed to be funny, I'm not sure.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2014 at 11:51AM
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drpraetorius(7)

considering the amount of work described and the conditions, mechanized help would be the most efficient way to go. At the very least, a bobcat.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2014 at 10:36PM
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salmon(4A WI)

Thanks for all the suggestions - including the backhoe (on my wishlist)!

    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 9:51PM
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devonhubb
    Bookmark   April 8, 2014 at 9:12AM
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longtee81

This video was a life savor for me. Shows how to dig up a stump by hand but thus could also be applied to transplanting.

Here is a link that might be useful: Youtube Clip (showing recommended tools)

    Bookmark   April 11, 2014 at 12:26PM
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